[ExI] How not to make a thought experiment

John Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Thu Feb 11 17:00:32 UTC 2010

Since my last post Gordon Swobe has posted 3 times.

> I think consciousness aids and enhances intelligence, something like the way a flashlight helps one move about in the dark. 

I've said this many many times before but that doesn't prevent it from being true, despite believing the above, in a magnificent demonstration of doublethink, Swobe also believes that a behavioral demonstration like the Turing test cannot detect consciousness. 

> It seems probable to me that conscious intelligence involves less biological overhead than instinctive unconscious intelligence

Then the logical implication is crystal clear, its harder to make an unconscious intelligence than a conscious intelligence. So if you encounter an intelligent machine your default assumption should be that it is conscious. 

> especially when considering complex behaviors such as social behaviors. Perhaps nature selected it for that reason only.

So if Swobe met a robot with greater social intelligence than he has would he consider it conscious? No of course he would not because, because,.... well just because.

Actually that is what Swobe would say today but I don't think that's what would really happen. If someone ever met up with such a machine I think it would understand us so well, better than we understand ourselves, that it could convince anyone to believe in anything and could quite literally charm the pants off us. As Swobe points out, even today characters in video games seem to be conscious to some, a robot with a Jupiter Brain would convince even the most sophisticated among us. We would believe the robot was conscious even if we couldn't prove it. I have the same belief regarding Gordon Swobe and the same lack of a proof.

 John K Clark


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